Assemble Insert -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Assemble Insert

Assemble Insert

By Chris Beveridge     June 05, 2001
Release Date: June 05, 2001

Assemble Insert
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
The local cops have a problem: the Demon Seed - a small but surprisingly capable gang with a charismatic leader. Their mecha body suits allow them to undertake spectacular crimes that regularly rampage the city and totally humiliate the local police.

Desperate, the police have created a special branch just to deal with them. However, these unlucky few aren't having any better results than the regular police and the public is turning against them. If they could just foil the Demon Seed once it would make their careers much easier...They just need a plan....

Now chief Hattori has come up the Demon Seed gang will definitely never expect. Hatched from chief Hattori’s alcohol-induced mind, it's just so bizarre that it’s just got to work!

Find the perfect crime fighter that's so super, so fantastic and captivating that even if they don't beat the Demon Seed gang, the public just won't care! And who could this person be? An Idol Singer of course!

Enter Maron Namikaze. Cute and innocent; she can’t sing or even dance but she has the only talent the job really requires: super-human strength! Now Hattori and his crew must mold her into the perfect Idol Singer and turn Maron their ultimate weapon...but at what cost? Can she really survive the Demon Seed's onslaught?

The story is somewhat reminiscent of Project A-ko in its innocence but its one of the most brilliant parodies of anime and Japanese Pop-Culture you’re likely to find ... complete with it’s own commercials!

Created by Masami Yuuki, creator of "Patlabor"
Mecha Design by Yutaka Izubuchi, designer of "Lodoss Wars"
Design Assist by Takehiko Ito, creator of "Outlaw Star"

The Review!
Assemble: Insert is a nice little two episode OVA show that was produced when the Patlabor folks came off of that project. So we've got some of the same elements here in the human piloted mecha, inept cops and general silliness. And a big dash of singing idol fever.

For our primary review session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. This is a pretty straightforward stereo mix with little directionality. This is primarily a dialogue-comedy with some action sequences, so the majority of the show is through the center channel while the music and a few ambient effects settle into the left/right channel. We didn't notice any dropouts or other distortions during playback.

Being released in 89-90, and looking to be low budget, the show doesn't have anything in terms of a serious problem, but a number of scenes look soft and some of the darker blues in the backgrounds, such as skies or walls, look blotchy and somewhat blocky. Colors look decent if flat (by intent), and there's practically no rainbows or major line noise issues. This disc was authored by the same folks who did the Tylor series, so they know what they're doing and look to be working with the source materials that they were given.

The cover, just a simple close-up of a smiling Maron, is probably the best way to sell this show. Right from the cover you know not to expect typical character designs, which means to not expect a typical anime show. The reverse side gives a couple of shots of the animation and a length summary of the show. No insert was included with this disc.

The menus are simple static pages with some music playing over them. Unlike our unfavorable views of Mail Order Maiden or Buttobi/CPU's menus, things work great here and the menu is very fast and access times between submenus is great. It's not the slickest thing in the world, but it's functional and laid out properly and it's fast.

The main extra included here is the commercial that takes place in the show and presented by itself. Unfortunately, it's not subtitled like it is in the show. But it's nice to have it easily accessible.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Assemble: Insert is definitely a show that fits in the parody genre. It's only lightly grounded in its own reality, but plays within the rules. But as with any parody, the rules don't always apply. And with this show being based on a long running manga series, things are going to be just a bit confused to begin with.

The show revolves around a group of special police officers whose sole purpose is to hunt down the Demon Seed gang, a group of criminals with power suits/mecha that are terrorizing the city. The officers in this group have a couple of problems with this though; they don't have power suits of their own, they're pretty ineffectual with just regular guns and they're pretty ineffectual in general. This isn't the cream of the crop here, but rather a group that's just trying to get by and get their bonuses.

So in order to revive their sagging status in the department, the chief of the group decides to find the one person who can really do some damage against the Demon Seed. Maybe not physically, but someone with that special something. He lucks out in finding that in Maron, a cute shy high school girl whose exceptionally strong. The chief then gets a special powered outfit for her to wear and she takes on the bad guys.

And when things go from bad to worse, the chief decides to pimp her out as an actual idol star, a career that begins to supercede that as a member of the Demon Seed hunting group. This makes up the majority of the second episode and has a lot of injokes and pokes a lot of fun at the whole idol industry.

The show has a number of very funny moments, and these do help keep things moving a long. There's a lot of passable/moderately funny jokes as well, but it's one of those things where comedy's changed so much in the past 12 years, certain things aren't quite as funny now as they were then. What does keep things amusing throughout is just the expressions on the characters oddly drawn faces. The big walnut eyes, the massive McDonald's eyebrows and other facial designs are just fun to watch.

The Japanese voice cast (which unfortunately doesn't seem to be listed anywhere on the disc) is quite good. Maron's voiced Kasahara Hiroko who played Fuu in Rayearth while the chief is played by an old favorite of mine, Wakamoto Norio, who had the role of "Coach" in Gunbuster. His deadpan deliveries followed by raving moments works great.

While Assemble: Insert is short, and based on a manga, it's pretty well standalone and provides a good hour of fun anime. It won't change the world, but it'll make for a nice evening.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Commercial

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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